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Boehner 23, America 19, Mr. Brown 16, Washington 13, United States 12, Wyoming 11, Afghanistan 11, Reid 10, Mr. Barrasso 10, Illinois 10, Ouattara 7, Gbagbo 5, Mr. Durbin 4, Alassane Ouattara 4, Oklahoma 4, D.c. 3, Ronald Reagan 3, United States Senate 3, Mr. Reid 3, Mr. Inhofe 2,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    July 29, 2011
    12:00 - 5:00pm EDT  

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unemployment rate down, we will never get america's economy expanding and back on its feet, we will never start dealing with these massive debt issues that we have, one, if we don't cut spending, which is the other issue we're debating today, but also if we're not growing and expanding the american economy. we can do that. there are so many things that these trade agreements would do not only for agricultural exporters but for other producers of american goods. we ought to be doing that, mr. president. it is high time that we at least did some of the things that we can do to get the economy growing again, and i can't emphasize enough the lost market opportunities, the lost chance at economic growth, the lost jobs that are associated with the fact that this administration has delayed now, since they have been in office, two and a half years, in submitting these three free trade agreements to congress,
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three free trade agreements that have broad bipartisan support for congress which we as republicans have been waiting to act upon for almost the four years since these agreements were negotiated in the first place. and so it's high time that we change that. it's one thing that we can do to affect the economy in this country, among the other things, and i would simply add as sort of a final point that the debate that we're having about the debt limit is also one that needs to -- to be dealt with if we're going to get serious about growing the economy and creating jobs, because if you look at the economy today, if you look at this president's economic record and you look at the data, almost every metric that you can measure, he has made this economy much worse. and the president has said repeatedly, and he said it in his speech the other night, blames the previous administration for where we are today, and i don't think anybody here would dispute the fact that he inherited a difficult set of economic circumstances, but
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there is no question if you look at every metric that he has made the situation much worse, whether that's unemployment, which is up 18%. there are 2.1 million more people unemployed today than there were when he took office. whether it's the debt which has grown by 35% since he took office. whether it's the number of americans who are receiving food stamps which has gone up by 40% since he took office. and i might add in my state of south dakota by 58% increase in the number of people receiving food stamps. the cost of health care in this country is up 19% since this president took office. the cost of gasoline has gone up almost 100%, 99% since this president took office. the amount of the debt per person in this country has gone up by $11,000. every american now owes $11,000 more as their share of our federal debt since this president took office. the economic record of this administration is abysmal, and it's high time that we took the
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steps to do something about that. it strikes me at least as i look at the policies that they have been putting in place that they seem to want to make it more difficult and more expensive for people in this country to create jobs. you see that in regulations coming out of all these various agencies. you see it in the massive runup in growth in the size of government, the new mandates that have been imposed on a lot of our small businesses as a result of the new health care bill, the new taxes that have been imposed on our small businesses as a result of the new health care legislation. at every turn, american small businesses who create the jobs that will get this economy growing again tell us that the economic uncertainty, the job-crushing policies that are coming out of this administration have been a major, major inhibitor, major impediment to them creating jobs and getting people back to work in this country. and the trade agreements is just something i would add onto that list. we have three trade agreements that have been teed up now for
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almost four years since they were negotiated. this administration has been in office now for two and a half years. the president continually gets up, as he does at the state of the union, and talks about want to go double trade in five years, talks about supporting these free trade agreements, and yet it's a very simple thing. all he has to do is submit tomorrow to congress -- submit them to congress. the trade agreements are negotiated. all he has to do is send them up here and we are ready to put americans back to work, to open up export opportunities to american producers, to get the economy growing again and creating jobs. and so, mr. president, i hope that in addition to dealing with the issue of runaway spending and debt, which in my view is -- is the predominant issue that we need to deal with and clearly between now and tuesday we have got to get a solution in place that will keep -- avert the economic adversity that we could be dealing with, the adverse circumstances if we don't deal with that, but that needs to be accompanied by serious
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reductions in spending, spending reforms, and then we have got to be putting in place policies that will enable economic growth in this country, that will make it less expensive, less difficult for small businesses to create jobs, not more difficult. and unfortunately, that is the record to date of this administration. i hope we can change that and start today by sending these trade agreements up to the congress so that we can act on them and get these things approved and get american businesses export to go these three countries. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: without objection, the materials referred to by the senator will be entered into the record. mr. thune: mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. conrad: i ask further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. conrad: mr. president, we are now reaching a critical hour in the congress of the united states on the question of
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extending the debt limit of the nation and of fundamentally dealing with the debt of the nation. i don't think there is any serious person in either body that does not understand that we must deal with the debt itself as we extend the debt limit. we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that we spend. the gross debt of the united states will reach 100% of our g.d.p. by the end of this year. the best economists in the country of whatever philosophical stripe are telling us we're on an unsustainable course that must be changed. mr. president, in the midst of this, we have had the house so
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far unable to send us a package. now we're told they do have the votes because they have added a balanced budget to the constitution as part of their package. mr. president, the balanced budget that they have previously proposed in the house of representatives can never pass the united states senate, at least as this body is currently constituted. and it should not pass this body. it is deeply flawed. and to attach that to a measure that has to pass both houses before tuesday of next week frankly is an indication of a lack of seriousness on the part of our colleagues in the house
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of representatives. ultimately, there has to be a bipartisan agreement. our friends in the other party control the house of representatives. the senate is controlled by my party, the democratic party. we have a democrat in the white house. no serious person can fail to understand that putting a -- an amendment to the constitution of the united states that is deeply flawed into that package absolutely guarantees that it cannot pass in this chamber. that would take a two-thirds vote. i don't believe it would even command a simple majority here, much less a two-thirds vote. so here we are at the 11th hour and people in the other
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body seemingly are still not serious about coping with the challenge of both extending the debt limit to avoid a default which would be catastrophic and of dealing with the debt itself. mr. president, i understand ideological rigidity. the time for that is past. the time now is to work together in some reasonable way so that we advance legislation that both extends the debt limit to avoid the catastrophic consequences of a default and to deal with the debt threat itself. mr. president, "the new york times" on wednesday had this
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story." on all levels of the economy, concern about the impasse." what they were talking about is the rating agencies saying if we don't do both, if we don't extend the debt limit and deal effectively with the debt itself, they're going to downgrade the rating of our credit as a country. mr. president, the story goes on to say -- "economists and analysts are trying to gauge the cost to the economy and the consumers. if the united states loses its solid gold credit rating, a move that appears more likely now that the standoff in washington over government spending has calcified. some economists say the effects of lowering the federal government's credit rating to aa from aaa can be measured in the billions of dollars, in increased borrowing costs for the government and in the billions more that consumers, corporations, states and municipalities will have to pay
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for their credit. it also could erode consumer and business confidence, slowing even further the economy and job creation." mr. president, it's started already. we have just learned the latest numbers on economic growth. they are a tepid 1.3%. mr. president, this uncertainty being created here by a failure to deal with our debt and with an extension of the debt limit are creating a head wind for our economy. reducing economic growth, slowing job creation, costing us a stronger recovery. mr. president, i want to remind colleagues, for every one percentage point increase in interest rates, that adds adds $1.3 trillion to the debt. so kicking this can down the road, not facing up to it has
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enormous consequences. $1.3 trillion added debt for every 1% increase in interest rates, this is just the effect on the federal government. trillions more would be the effect on consumers, on companies, on other levels of government with an increase in interest rates. mr. president, when we see the proposal by the speaker that apparently the house is now prepared to send us, it has fatal flaws, and here they are. first of all, it would repeat the default crisis in just six months. that would continue the uncertainty and put the economy at further risk. our friends on the other side
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have repeatedly said how uncertainty is hurting this economy, and now they want to create themselves more uncertainty. it makes no sense. mr. president, the boehner plan includes significantly less deficit reduction than does the reid plan. the boehner plan, as i understand it, has not been able to calculate its newest version fully. it was in the range of of $1 trillion of savings. majority leader reid's plan is well over $2 trillion of savings. third, the boehner plan provides no firewall between security and nonsecurity spending. that means even deeper cuts on the domestic side of the ledger because we all know what happens if you don't have a firewall.
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and finally, it requires an irresponsible balanced budget approach that has been clearly rejected here and will be reject ed again. that's certain. mr. president, standard and poor's has warned against repeat ed debt ceiling debates. here's what they have said on july 26. "we would be concerned if we thought the debt ceiling debate would come back and be open and we'd have to go through all this again and again and again. that would be negative in our view." mr. president, this is the rating agency that determines what the interest rates will be on the debt of our country. not directly but indirectly, because if they write down our creditworthiness, that will increase interest rates.
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so they are sending us a very clear signal, don't do the speaker boehner plan that has only a six-month extension and repeat this whole process and create more uncertainty and put the economy further at risk. to avoid a u.s. credit rating downgrade, the s&p wants to see a bipartisan debt reduction effort. not the totally partisan approach that speaker boehner has for the moment chosen to pursue. mr. president, i don't know what could be more clear. the other body is in the control of our friends in the other party. this body is in control of the democrats. at the end of the day, we have to come together. we have to work together. now, i have been part of two efforts to work together. last year, the fiscal
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commission, 18 of us given the responsibility to come up with a plan to get our debt under control. at the end of the day, 11 of the 18 agreed on a plan. five democrats, five republicans and one independent. fully bipartisan. i was proud to be part of the 11 that agreed to that plan. this year, i have been part of the group of six, three democrats, three republicans that were asked by about 30 of our colleagues to see if we could find a way to implement the findings of the commission, because for the commission's findings to be implemented, they had to have a super, supermajority. they had to have 14 of the 18 agree. and even though we had 11 of 18, it wasn't enough. so about 30 senators met at the beginning of this year, the end of last and asked a group of us six, three democrats, three
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republicans, to see if we could come up with a bipartisan plan. we have worked all year, hundreds of hours, and we have agreed. we have laid out a plan for our colleagues. it is the only bipartisan plan before either chamber. mr. president, speaker boehner at this late hour is still pursuing a plan only on the republican side of the aisle and only in one chamber. that can't possibly be a recipe for success. mr. president, david beers, standard and poor's global head of sovereign ratings said this on july 26 -- "we will measure the deal on a number of parameters. one is is it credible? and correct, among other things, means to us there has to be some
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buy-in across the political divide, across both parties, because politics can and will change going forward. and if there's ownership by both sides of the program, then that would give us more confidence. it's not just about the number. it's about the all-in intent." mr. president, are our colleagues listening? the solution cannot be found on just one side of the aisle in one chamber. this is going to require bipartisan, bicameral cooperation. we're going to have to act like adults. not like kids in a school yard pointing fingers, spreading rumors, spreading blame. that will not lead to success. mr. president, here's the
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circumstance we face. the red line is the spending line of the united states going back 60 years. the green line is the revenue line of the united states going back 60 years. and what you can see, the revenue of the united states as a share of our national income is the lowest it has been in 60 years. spending as a share of our national income is the highest it has been in 60 years. revenue is the lowest, spending is the highest. that's why we have record deficits. mr. president, clearly you have to work both sides of the equation to get a solution. some of our friends on the other side are saying don't touch revenue. some of our friends on both sides are saying ah, and don't touch entitlements.
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don't touch medicare, don't touch social security, don't touch medicaid. mr. president, if you can't touch revenue and you can't touch the entitlements, you can't solve the problem. by definition. when you're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar and you exclude all revenue -- that's half the equation -- and you exclude 60% of federal spending, if you eliminated all the rest of federal spending, every dime for defense, for nondefense discretionary, if you eliminated every dime, you wouldn't solve the problem. mr. president, at some point here we've got to get serious and real with the american people. the balanced budget amendment that our colleagues in the house sent us previously that's already been rejected here once, now they're putting in the package to send us here again at the 11th hour, a
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balanced budget amendment that is as deeply flawed as any amendment that i have seen in 25 years in this chamber. let me review what our friends on the other side sent us in a balanced budget amendment that was rejected here just in the last few weeks. it would restrict the ability to respond to economic downturns. meaning you would compound the decline. that's bad economics, and it's not going to pass. number two, it uses social security funds to calculate balance, and subjects that program to the same cuts as other federal spending. even though social security has its own trust fund and is separately funded. number three, it shifts the
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ultimate decisions on budgeting to unelected and unaccountable judges. and fourth, it requires a state ratification process that could take years to complete. we don't have years to wait for a state ratification process for a constitutional amendment. we need to make these spending and revenue decisions ourselves and do it now. it's our responsibility. let's not be waiting for the states to ratify a constitutional amendment before we take the action that is necessary. mr. president, the balanced budget amendment that the house previously sent us has the risk of turning a recession into a depression. why do i say that? because there is no provision in
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the amendment that they sent us for an economic downturn as being an exemption from the balanced budget requirement. that is hoover economics all over again. how many times do we have to learn the harsh lesson that when we are in an economic free fall, the only entity big enough to pull us out is the collective organization of our government? that is the only place that has the muscle to prevent a recession from turning into a depression, and the balanced budget amendment our colleagues cept us before would absolutely lock down the federal government's ability to respond. that would be a profound
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mistake, and contradict all we have learned in economics since the great depression. this is what norm ann ornstein at the american enterprise institute said about this constitutional amendment. he called it 5, quote, "really dumb idea." this is what he said. "few ideas are more seductive on the surface and more destructive in reality than a balanced budget amendment. here's why -- nearly all of our states have balanced budget requirements. that means when the economy slows, states are forced to raise taxes or slash spending at just the wrong time, providing a fiscal drag when what is needed is countercyclical policy to stimulate the economy. in fact, the fiscal drag from the states in 2009 and 2010 was barely countered by the federal stimulus plan. that meant the federal stimulus
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provided was nowhere near what was needed but far better than doing nothing. now, imagine that scenario with a federal drag instead." mr. president, "the washington post" wrote an editorial about the house balanced budget amendment headlined "a bad idea returns." rewriting the constitution is the wrong way to deal with the debt. here's what they said in their editorial. "worse yet, the latest version would impose an absolute cap on spending as a share of the economy. it would prevent federal expenditures from exceeding 18% of the gross domestic product in any year. most unfortunately, the amendment lacks a clause letting the government exceed that limit to strengthen a struggling economy. no matter how shaky the state of the union, policymakers would
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be prevented from adopting emergency spending such as the extension of unemployment insurance, and other countercyclical expenses that have helped cushion the below of the current economic -- blow of the current economic downturn." mr. president, it doesn't stop there. this is what senator mccain said on the republican balanced budget amendment proposal on july 27. "what is amazing about this, some members are believing we can pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution in this body with its present representation and that is foolish. that is worse than foolish. that is deceiving many of our constituents. that is not fair to the american people to hold out and say we will not agreed to raising the debt limit until we pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. it is unfair. it is bizarro.
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maybe some people who have been in this body six or seven months or so believe that. others know better. it is time we listened to the markets. it's time we listened to our constituents. most of all, it's time we listened to the american people and sit down and seriously negotiate something." senator mccain had it exactly right. sending us a deeply flawed balanced budget amendment to the constitution of the united states at the 11th hour is not designed to achieve a result. it is achieved, it is designed to achieve a headline. a bumper sticker slogan that will not help us solve the problem. mr. president, here's what a top economic adviser to former president reagan said about the house balanced budget amendment. he said and i quote, "-- this
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is bruce bartlett a former reagan administration top economic adviseor. and i quote him. "i have previously explained the idiocy of right-wing advocates of a balanced budget amendment. however, the new republican balanced budget proposal is especially dimwitted. in short, this is quite possibly the stupidest constitutional amendment i think i have ever seen. it looks like it was drafted by a couple of interns on the back of a napkin. every senator co-sponsoring this balanced budget amendment should be ashamed of themselves." that is from a former top economic advisor to ronald reagan. is anybody listening? is anybody paying attention to how far off base things have slipped in the other body, to send us at this moment, at this
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critical juncture a plan that has absolutely no chance of passing in this body, and should not? mr. president, what is so deeply flawed? in addition to the other points i've made, the balanced budget amendment that the house republicans cept us earlier -- sent us earlier set a spending cap of 18% of g.d.p. well, let's add up what that would mean. you can see here social security is the red band. that's about 5% of g.d.p. if you add defense and all other nonhealth care spending that takes you up to about 16.5% of g.d.p. interest on the debt takes you to over 18% of g.d.p. you notice what's missing here?
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medicare. in the republican plan, that they sent to us, with a spending cap of 18% of g.d.p., if you fund social security, if you fund defense and other -- and other non-health spending, and you fund interest on the debt, there's no money left. there's no money for medicare. there's no money for medicaid. there is no money for any health care spending. mr. president, that's what the house of representatives sent us just in the last several weeks as a balanced budget amendment to the constitution of the
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united states. when some of our side called it cut, cap and kill medicare, they weren't kidding. because if you add it up, it doesn't add up. mr. president, not only that, the balanced budget amendment our colleagues in the house sent us just in the last few weeks also said it would take a two-thirds vote to get any additional revenue, even though revenue is the lowest it has been in 60 years. they would apply a two-thirds requirement to get more revenue. really. so they would protect with a two-thirds vote requirement every tax scam, every off-shore tax haven, every tax shelter
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currently being used by some to avoid and evade the taxes they owe our country. i've shown this picture on the floor of the senate many times. this is a little building down in the cayman islands. a little five-story building that claims to be home to 18,857 companies. they all say this is their business headquarters. i've said that's the most efficient building in the world. a little five-story building down there and it's the headquarters of 18,000 companies? anybody believe that? anybody believe that 18,000 companies are operating out of that little building down in the cayman islands? they're not operating their businesses out of there. they are engaged in a giant tax scam to make all the rest of us pick up their responsibilities.
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all of us who pay what we owe are getting stuck by the companies that are hiding out in this little building down in the cayman islands, avoiding the taxes that they owe our country. because there are no taxes down in the cayman islands so they operate out of this little building down there, five-story building, 18,000 companies. and they avoid paying the taxes that they owe and stick all the rest of us with the responsibility. that's not right. and the constitutional amendment that our colleagues in the house of representatives sent us would protect that behind a wall of a two-thirds vote, which means you'd have an impossible time ever fixing this problem. it's hard to get a 60% vote
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around here, much less two-thirds. they would protect every off-shore tax haven, every abusive tax shelter, every unfair tax preference that's in the current code because they would require a 2/3 vote to change it. mr. president, that flawed amendment is not going to pass the united states senate. not now, not later this year, not next year, because it itself would require a two-thirds vote. it is not going to happen.  so i'd say to our colleagues in the other chamber, sending us a totally partisan approach with a deeply flawed constitutional amendment is not going to work. it is not going to help solve the problem.
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and now is the final for us to join in a serious dialogue about solving the problem, solving the debt threat overhanging the country, which will require not a trillion-dollar package, as is in the house offering, but a $4 trillion package. the occupant of the chair well knows of what i speak. he was governor of west virginia and he dealt with a piss cal crisis in his state and he guided his state through that crisis of the not just by operating on one side of the aisle, but by working together with people on both sides to come up with solutions. not political slogans. we are way beyond that. we are within days of a default
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on the debt of the united states that would have catastrophic consequences for the economy of our country. it's time. it's time, colleagues, to come together to do something that can pass, to deal, yes, with the debt limit but also to deal with the debt itself. it will be an empty gesture if we just extend the debt limit and we don't deal with the debt itself. now, our leader, to his credit, has put something together that begins to take ideas from both sides of the aisle to try to resolve this crisis. it would save the nation from an immediate economic crisis. it would provide a significant down payment on deficit reduction -- more than $2 trillion -- and it would put
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in place a special joint congressional committee, equally divided, democrats and republicans, to find additional savings. and there is no new revenue in the plan. our friends on the other side have thus far said, at least in the house of representatives, they can accept no new revenue, none, not a penny. so our leader has said okay, i don't like that but if that's your line in the sand for right now, we will accept it so that we can find a solution that both sides can support. no new revenue, more than a trillion dollars -- more than $2 trillion of spending cuts, and a special joint committee to come up with a plan to achieve even greater savings.
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that's a pretty good offer to the other side to say, we hear you, we want to work with you because we need a solution. mr. president, we're just days away from a true crisis, one that would be self-inflicted. colleagues, let's not go there. let's come together. we've shown we can do it in the past. we need to do it now. not with blame, not with finger pointing but by saying this is a time to join together, to stand shoulder to shoulder to prevent irreparable damage being done to
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our country. i ask my colleagues, now, now is the time, this day we've got to find a way to come together. i thank the chair and yield the floor. note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mrs. hutchison: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hutchison: mr. president, i rise today to speak about the looming august 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling and making reforms or budget cuts at least that would allow us to show that we are not going to have business as usual in washington but that we are going to raise the debt ceiling with the reforms that are necessary.
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despite the differences in this body, we are all here to share three concerns. first, we do know at this point, because of the time that it has taken us to cobble together something that could be put through both of our houses and signed by the president, that we have fundamental differences in the principles of how we should run our government. i think it is very clear the republicans have stood for no taxes, especially in this economic environment. we believe that piling taxes on top of the costs of the obama health care system that is in the process of being implemented would keep our businesses from hiring people and getting this 9.1% unemployment rate down. i think we all agree that we
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need to bring that unemployment rate down. but we have fundamental differences about what's causing it and how we can solve it. number two, we all agree, i believe, or 95% of us agree that we cannot default on the debt in our country. i do believe in both houses the vast majority believe that we should not go into default. and the costs of a default are not being considered nearly enough. the costs of a default, of interest rates going up, of having to do backpay, having to correct some of the many issues that we will face by having some of the people who are owed money not paid and having to pay interest and extra interest if we are in default. we cannot allow that to happen. i think we all agree on that.
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and we are all troubled with the delay in resolving this issue. the delay i think has been caused for many reasons. of course, our fundamental differences are one, but i believe that although members of congress and leaders in congress have been talking for a long time, i think the president did not get involved until just two weeks or so ago and has never put forward a real plan and then talked to members of congress one-on-one about having his plan or some iteration of his plan go forward. now, the senate majority leader and the house speaker have put forward plans. i believe that there is a common ground that can be found between these two proposals, but they are not the same. in fact, i think the republican leader in the senate has also put forward a plan and i think
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we're seeing the different pieces of the plans that have been put forward now starting to come together. i believe the boehner plan is a good one. i believed in the cut, cap and balance plan, where you cut spending now to make your down payment, you cap spending every year for the next ten years at a level that brings down the overall deficit, and you send a balanced budget to the states for ratification. i feel so certain if we could pass a balanced budget from this congress and send it to the states, it would be ratified and it would put us on the real course for fiscal responsibili responsibility. the course that would assure that social security is sound, that medicare works, and that our children and grandchildren will not inherit a debilitating
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debt that hurts our economy. so i do believe that cut, cap and balance was the right way forward. but, mr. president, congress is split. we have a majority of democrats in the senate and republicans in the house. therefore, we are not going to get everything that any one of us believes is right and certainly we're not going to get the boehner plan in the senate. but it is the right approach and we will have to take a few steps at a time and i hope that we will be able to come to terms on that way forward with the principles of cug spending, putting a cap on spending -- of cutting spending, putting a cap on spending and not raising the debt ceiling any more than the cuts that can be counted. and that's what is a concern to me about the reid plan.
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senator reid is calling for $2.7 trillion in an yeast in the debt ceiling. the purpose, as the president has stated, is to get through the next election in 2012 and not deal with this again. but, mr. president, the next election should not be the focus. the focus should be, how do we show that our country is on the right track to get this enormous debt whittled down. by whittling down the deficits and having sound budget principles. this $2.7 trillion would be the largest debt ceiling increase in the history of america. the previous largest debt limit increase was $1.9 trillion which president obama signed into law in february of last year.
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this debt ceiling increase in senator reid's proposal is not paid for. it offers $1 trillion in cuts for a $2.7 trillion increase. many of those cuts are illusory. they are not cuts that can be counted. to say that we're going to label $1 trillion of cuts savings from leaving afghanistan and iraq is just not credible. we don't know what the obstacles are going to be in afghanistan and possibly iraq. we also don't know what we might have to do in the middle east going forward. afghanistan is not settled, mr. president, and we have to have a certain level of
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stability on the ground in afghanistan or we will have wasted the billions that we have already spent and the lives of our military personnel in afghanistan because it will go back to the way it was before, a center for terrorism that will come to our country or can come to our country. it did once already and we have been over there to try to wipe out al qaeda and the taliban, which has been in league with al qaeda. we have been over there losing american lives and spending american taxpayer dollars to protect our country from another 9/11. to say that we're going to cut $1 trillion in the future over the next ten years when we aren't placing the emphasis on what are the conditions on the ground is not sound policy and
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it's certainly not sound national security policy. so that's illusory. and then the other parts of the cuts that i think are very hard to decipher are cutting waste, fraud and abuse, which we all want to do, but we don't have the guarantee of those cuts. so i think it is important for us to look at the cuts and try to make sure that if we're going to raise the debt ceiling, we raise it only the amount of the actual cuts that we can produce. in the majority leader's -- majority leader reid's legislation, there is a joint committee. there is also one in the boehner bill. but in the majority leader's legislation, the committee has to report but its product
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doesn't have to be passed and enacted before the debt ceiling is lifted. now, that's the real problem in senator reid's proposal. the bill would lose its expedited status and the joint committee would dissolve on january the 13th of 2012 under senator reid's proposal and then we would still have the lifting of the debt ceiling that has already been enacted. that is not the way to go forward. the joint committee proposed in the boehner plan is forced to produce savings, and the forcing mechanism in this case is the fact that the debt limit can't be increased unless the cuts are enacted. so you will keep the governor on the debt increase by assuring that there have to be cuts in spending dollar-for-dollar. and, third, there is no balanced budget amendment included in the
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reid proposal, and, in fact, there's no requirement that we even vote on a balanced budget amendment. now, i know that it would be very difficult to pass a balanced budget amendment right now out of congress. but i do believe it is the best thing we could do for the long-term security of our country. so i would hope that, as we come together -- because we know the reality here; the reid bill is not going to pass the house and the boehner bill is not going to pass the senate exactly -- so we've got to come together with a plan. maybe it's a short-term plan that just has a dollar-for-dollar cut along with the raising of the debt ceiling, or maybe we can get more after we dispatch with the two bills that are now before the congress and try to put something
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together that has the best parts of both. i could not support the reid plan, as it is today, and i do support the boehner plan, but i also know that neither of them is going to pass the other house. so i think it is incumbent on us to now go forward, and let's quickly start doing the work that could produce results, and that is to try to get the best of both of these before the august 2 deadline. and i think we've got to be open to what can work that stays within the principles of no tax increases and no debt ceiling increase without the same amount of dollars, at least, to be cut from spending, with real cuts that can be assured. i think the american public is looking not for promises but for
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the assurance in the law that we will not be able to raise the debt ceiling without some cutting of spending and reforms that would equal the amount that the debt ceiling is increased. we can go forward, mr. president, with those principles which i think both sides would agree to at this final few hours that we have before that debt ceil something reached. but it is time -- before that debt ceiling is reached. but it is time to vote on these bills and then get down to the real work of determining what is the best in both that we can pass in both houses. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: rasso: i ask unanims
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consent that i be permitted to engage in a colloquy with my -- the presiding officer: senator, we're in a quorum call. mr. barrasso: thank you very much, mr. president. mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to engage in a colloquy with my republican colleagues for up to 30 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor today as the nation watches the activities in the capitol and capitol hill, someone from a state, the state of wyoming, where we live within our means, balance our budget every year and as a result actually have a surplus in the state in contrast to what's happening in washington, with an incredible debt -- $14 trillion -- more than people can actually fathom. but people understand spending more than you have. and families all across the country realize you just can't
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do that. well, here in america we have as a nation been doing that for many years, been spending money we don't have, spending more, sending out more than comes in to the point we've had to borrow and borrow and borrow. and each time we borrow too much, which continues to happen, we have to raise the debt ceiling the amount of money that can be borrowed. the president has now asked that we raise that debt ceiling again, but he's asked that it be raised the largest amount in the history of our country, the history of this great land. and that has an impact on people and families all around the country, and they're concerned because they know they can't spend more than they bring in, can't spend more than they have. they think back to the days of john kennedy saying ask not what your country can do for you. ask what you can do for your country. and people i know in wyoming are concerned it may switch one day to ask not what your country can do for you. ask what your country must do
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for china. because, mr. president, last year of every dollar we spent in this country, 41 cents of it was borrowed. half of it from overseas and a lot of it from china. so how do we in this great country stay a great and strong nation, the leader of the world, when we owe that kind of money to another country, a country who does not necessarily have our own best interests at heart? and that's why as this debate and discussion is going about the debt ceiling, the debt limit, people in wyoming tell me their biggest concern is not the debt limit. it is the debt. the debt is the threat. it is a threat to our own national security. and those aren't just my words, mr. president. those are the words of the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who said that the greatest threat to our national security is our debt. and so i'm so sphraoefd to be joined -- so pleased to be
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joined on the floor of the senate by a colleague, a next door neighbor from nebraska, a former governor from nebraska, who as a governor, as a governor lived with a system where he had to balance the budget every year. and the buck stopped with him. he had to make sure. so i ask my colleague from nebraska and a former cabinet member who's run a major cabinet in a department within the united states government, perhaps you could share with us, my colleague from nebraska, what was involved in having to make those tough decisions but actually being held to make those decisions. mr. johanns: i thank the senator from wyoming. it's my pleasure to be on the floor with him and to talk about my experience in dealing with the reality of a balanced budget amendment. as i said a couple of weeks ago when i spoke on the floor about this issue, i've heard many come
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to the floor and they've talked about, well, this is a bad idea. this is bad policy. some have even gone so far as to describe it as almost kind of a radical sort of approach. well, i've lived with a balanced budget amendment. i have to say that i did not find it to be a radical approach whatsoever. in the state of nebraska, where i was governor for six years, and actually prior to that when i was the mayor of the state capital, the community of lincoln, i had balanced the budget. i had no choice whatsoever about that. in fact, in nebraska, we had an additional provision. decades and decades ago when those who wrote the nebraska constitution started thinking about what kind of state they wanted, i think they wisely
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realized that at some point the politicians would try to hand off or give away the state treasury and promise everything to everybody for obvious reasons: to get elected, to get reelected. so in the state constitution, they said you can't borrow over $100,000. so we had two requirements. one is that on an annual basis, the budget had to be balanced. the spending could not exceed the revenues. then the second requirement was that we couldn't issue any bonds or debt to balance that budget. and in fact, we go so far as to not have any debt whatsoever really. we have a few lease-purchase agreements on some equipment, but that's really it. we don't even have debt for our highways. we don't lay a mile of concrete
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for a highway if we don't have the money to pay for it. so, for those who have described this as a radical sort of approach, let me describe to them how this approach has worked in our state. today in our state, our unemployment rate is 4.1%. 4.1%. i will go across the state very soon here and do town hall meetings in large communities from the largest, omaha, to some of our very smallest. and i can almost assure that you one of the things i will hear in our rural communities, where they're working hard to be business-friendly and grow jobs and opportunities for their residents, they will say to me, one of the challenges we have, mike, is finding the skilled labor that we need to fill the jobs that we are creating. i will also share with you that
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this experiment, this radical approach that some have described has resulted in a legislative session that ended early this year, that balanced the budget and did not borrow any money. i will also share with you that our pensions are funded. no stories about nebraska, that their pensions are underfunded, that they have been borrowing out of the pensions. and so someday when somebody retires, the pension will not be there for them. you -- i'll wrap up my comments by drawing the contrast. the contrast with the government that i find here is this: for now over 800 days we haven't had a budget. under the leadership of my friends on the other side of the aisle, the democrats, we have not had a budget for now going
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on three years. we are being asked to approve the largest debt increase in our nation's history. that's what this debate is all about. in addition, today we are closing in on $15 trillion worth of debt. the projections in about four years from now, four or five years from now is that we will owe $20 trillion of debt. so you mentioned i was in the cabinet. when i came here to join the president's cabinet as the secretary of agriculture and i shook the lieutenant governor's hand who has now been the governor for eight years. he's now the president of the national governors association, and wished him well, i did not have to say to him i am very sorry about all the debt i took
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on, because there was none. the bills were paid. the budget was balanced. the pensions were funded. the unemployment rate was low. and he continued that conservative legacy. by comparison, when barack obama leaves the presidency, he will tell his successor, "i ran up the largest debt in our nation's history, larger than any president in front he me." and that's the legacy he will leave behind for his children and his grandchildren and ours. and that's the sobering reality of today's debate. thank you. mr. barrasso: i appreciate the comments of the senator from nebraska. and i think about the fact that you had to use honest figures, honest accounting. i see now a proposal by the majority leader that, to me, seems to be full of accounting gimmicks, tricks; things like
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using money as savings that was never intended to be spent at all, saying we'll save all this money by not being at war in iraq or afghanistan for the next ten years and counting that as $1 trillion in savings when there was never even an intention to spend that in the first place. i don't think anybody in this body or on capitol hill believes we will be at surge levels for the next ten years in two wars, afghanistan and iraq. i ask my colleague from nebraska, you are also joined by our colleague from south dakota, you couldn't have done something like that in balancing your budget in nebraska? mr. johanns: we would never have done that. had i walked into the unicameral for my state of the state address and done things like are being proposed here today, i literally would have been run
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out. i mean the state senators would have looked at the governor and said we need a new governor. and i think they would have joined in a very bipartisan response to that kind of approach. you know, you're absolutely right. i looked through the proposal here, and i have to say in all due respect to the majority leader, this isn't going to get the support that i think he hopes for. it isn't going to happen. it's going to be voted down. it will not go to the finish line, because you just can't support it. this idea that somehow we're going to get a savings because we're not going to be funding the surge levels in afghanistan. no one was going to do that. the president wasn't asking for it. that money was never requested. to grab that out, as somebody pointed out, and i wish i could remember who, in a column today, they said that is like trying to grab a savings based upon the fact that we won't be invading canada this year.
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yeah, we're not going to invade kaepbt, but that's -- canada but that's not budget savings. and it's not a budget savings to somehow claim we're not going to fund the afghanistan war for the next ten years at surge levels because that was never anticipated. you know, what we've got to do here, i want to solve this problem but we've got to be real with the american people about how we're solving this problem, real savings. and i know it's painful. i've been there. i've cut budgets before. i've had to lay people off. but i think we've got to just be straight with the american people and say this is what it's going to take to get there. mr. barrasso: i would ask my colleague from south dakota who is here, has been a member this have body longer than i have, to me that debt ceiling increase seems to be the largest in history by any standard, whether you do it by including inflation, not including inflation. i think the previous largest one
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was $1.9 trillion, and that was also with this president. so i would think with this debt, you think about this president and what he inherited and where we are now, it seems to me, i'd ask my colleague from south dakota to respond, it seems he's make it go worse. mr. thune: i would echo what's been said by my neighbors and colleagues from nebraska and wyoming and your states as well as mine are states that have balanced budget amendments in our constitution, require our states to live within our means. our states do it. they do it the old-fashioned way. they do it by, in this case, the state of south dakota, having to make hard decisions about spending. they balance their budget and did it without raising taxes, which i think is a great model for what we ought to be doing here in washington, d.c. but as the senator from wyoming has pointed out, this is the largest increase, requested increase in the debt ceiling in history. and $2.4 trillion, and, of
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course we are going to be asked at some point, i think, to vote on the democratic leader's proposal, which as both of my colleagues have pointed out, doesn't get you there. if you even use the sort of standard that i think everybody realizes makes a lot of sense, and that is that if you're going to increase the debt limit by $2.4 trillion, you also ought to look at how you reduce spending by $2.4 trillion so that we're getting sort of a dollar-for-dollar reduction in spending, so that we're fundamentally addressing the real issue here which isn't the debt limit. it's the debt. we all talk about the debt limit. of course the debt limit is looking us right in the eye right now, but the real issue here is the fact that year over year over year, we continue to spend more than we take in. we are not living within our means. and, in fact, there has been -- you both have talked about a balanced budget amendment. i was here as a freshman congressman in 1997, the last time that that was voted on, and it was voted on in the senate.
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it never made it to the house because it needs two-thirds vote. it got 66 votes here in the senate. had it been able to pass here and come to the house, i think we would have passed it. i can't help but think how much better our situation would be today fiscally had we been able to do that back in 1997. at that time the overall debt was $5 trillion. today it's $14 trillion. there has been a $9 trillion increase in the federal debt just in that short amount of time. so it's important that we tackle this. it's important that we do it in a way so that the american people know that we're serious, that this isn't gimmicks, that this isn't smoke and mirrors and all the things that i think make people in this country so cynical about the way that washington, d.c., operates. and as you mentioned, the reid budget -- or the reid proposal here on the debt limit, senator reid essentially counts over over $1 trillion in savings that were never going to be spent in the first place. and so it really is a gimmick. it's not real, it's phony.
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we all know that. we have got to get real here. we have got to put forward a serious effort. if we're going to convince the american people that we're serious about this, but more importantly if we're really going to do something meaningful about getting this spending and debt situation under control. so i hope that we will be able to defeat that when it comes to the floor and actually do something. if we can get the house bill over here which has not only spending cuts in the near term but also a process whereby we can get some entitlement reform that deals with the big drivers of federal spending -- that's medicare, medicaid, social security, and then also get a vote on a balanced budget amendment, like all of our states have on the books and which have enabled our states to live within their means, not spend money they don't have and continue to in spite of this down economy perform above the average. i think all of our states probably in terms of unemployment, in terms of economic performance, if you look at them relative to other
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areas around the country, living within your means is a good model if you want to have a good, strong economy and create jobs for the people in your states. that's something we ought to be doing at the federal level, and that's why it's so important that we take the right approach here, and the bill that will come over from the house of representatives does that. the bill that has been proposed by the senate democratic leader does not. mr. barrasso: and it's interesting because you mentioned this figure, my colleague from south dakota, this $2 trillion, and the people in wyoming last week said how do they come up with that number. like you, i agree for every dollar that they want to increase the debt limit, they should say we should find a dollar of real savings, honest savings, savings you can point to, as you needed to as governor and as we believe here. and that's what the approach that they are dealing with in the house does. they have come up with a way to raise the debt ceiling, deal with avoiding a default, and they extend this for a number of
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months. so people said well, how do you get this $2.4 trillion number? the president had a white house press conference last week, july 22. he said -- it's astonishing. the president of the united states told the country the only bottom line that i have, he said, is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013. not extend the debt ceiling so we can avoid default, not so we can focus on jobs and the economy and the overall debt and the spending, but so that -- as he said, his bottom line, the only bottom line is that we have to extend it beyond the next election. and then the treasury secretary, he was on one of the television shows july 24 and he said most important, we have to lift this threat of default, he said, for the next 18 months we have to take that threat off the table through the election. this debt is the threat. this debt of nearly nearly $15 trillion, going to
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over $20 trillion in the next couple of years, that to me is the threat. the elections can take care of themselves. you know, i think the american people would be shocked, astonished and disappointed to hear that that is the president's only bottom line. i don't know what your comments or thoughts are on that, but i'm expecting better. mr. thune: well, you know, if you think about what this debate ought to be about, it ought to be about america's economic security. it ought to be about making sure that we are putting the country on a sustainable fiscal path and creating the conditions for economic growth, which i would argue there is a direct correlation between those two. if we don't get spending and debt under control, i think we're going to bankrupt the country, increase interest rates, we'll make it more difficult, more expensive for businesses in this country to create jobs, and so clearly there is a direct correlation between the issue of spending and debt and the economy. but the economy and the implications of what we do here on the economy really ought to animate everything that we do. we ought to be thinking about
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how is this going to impact the economy. we shouldn't be thinking about politics. and that's why it really was disturbing to hear the president say that his prerequisite in all this is that we get through the next election. to me, that was a statement that was profoundly about politics and certainly not about america's economic security, which ought to be first and foremost in our minds. and so subsequent to that, even yesterday, you had members of the president's team suggesting that this might somehow disrupt the christmas vacation, and i thought, you know, of all the things that we ought to be thinking about right now, the next election, the next holiday, those probably are not going to be real consequential if we don't take steps to address the issue before us today, and that is this -- this massive increase in our federal debt, the year-over-year deficits that we timber top -- continue to run, the fact that we continue to live way outside our means. that's what i think the american people want to see focused on. that's what the people of south
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dakota certainly want to see us focused on as well. mr. johanns: that's exactly what the people of nebraska -- mr. reid: would my friend yield? mr. johanns: yes, i would. mr. reid: i appreciate it. i have a unanimous consent request that has been cleared by the republican leader. i ask unanimous consent morning business be extended until 6:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each during that period of time. that at 6:00 p.m., i be recognized. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i would ask unanimous consent that my friend from nebraska's statement appear not interrupted in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: the debate that is occurring now absolutely is one of the most important debates we have had literally in the history of this country. it was encapsulized in a statement in a column i read
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from a man i have a lot of respect for, charles krauthammer. he said this about this debate. he said -- "we're in the midst of a great four-year national debate on the size and the reach of government. the future of the welfare state, indeed the nature of the social contract between the citizen and the state. the distinctive visions of the two parties, social democratic versus limited government, have underlain every debate on every issue since barack obama's inauguration -- the stimulus, the auto bailouts, health care reform, financial regulation, deficit spending, everything. the debt ceiling is but the latest focus of this fundamental divide." unquote. he could not be more right. this is a debate that must occur. as uncomfortable as it may be, think of where we have been as a
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nation in the last year and a half. literally when the president came to office, the first thing he wanted us to do was to pass a trillion dollar stimulus plan if you factor in the interest that was going to be paid. on promises that that was going to fix the economy and employ people, that unemployment would not go over 8%. what happened? unemployment shot beyond that. today, we see the growth of our economy is literally pitiful. there is no way that this economic growth can deal with employing more people. and then what was the next thing? a health care bill that quite honestly the vast majority of americans did not want.
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and by the day, story after story, analysis after analysis comes out and says all of the promises made during this health care debate by the president and democrats will not be fulfilled. there was just a story yesterday that this isn't going to bring health care costs down. this increases health care costs. and it's just one thing after another thing after another thing. well, the american people spoke loud and clear in november, and they said get the fiscal condition of the united states under control. now, i will say this. i don't think anybody is expecting miracles. it took us decades to get in this position. it is going to take concerted conservative effort to get out of this position over a period of time, but it's on debates like this where this must start.
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it is on debates like this where we must force this government to be smaller, to be more efficient. otherwise, the legacy we leave behind for our children and our grandchildren is $20 trillion of debt in just four more short years. they will have their own wars to fight. i wish they would be free of war. they all have their own wars to fight, their own flu pandemics to deal with, their own items on their agenda, education or health care or whatever that they want to improve, and where will they begin? they will begin with a a $20 trillion debt in four years. and that as a nation should be unacceptable to us, and that's why we need to do everything we can at every stage to turn this around and start this nation on
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the right course. mr. thune: if i might just -- i also had the opportunity. i read the very column that the senator from nebraska is referring to, the krauthammer column this morning, and i was struck by many of the same things that you observed. i think it's important to note that we are a nation, i think historically, that has believed in a limited role for the government. that's what distinguishes us in many respects from some of our european allies, and i think that what this debate on the debt limit does but the broader debates that we need to be having here about spending and debt and budgets -- that is, if we ever had a debate on a budget. as you said, we haven't had a budget now in 821 days. it's been april 29, 2009, was the last time that this senate passed a budget. so it's really hard to talk about these big issues that we need to be focused on when you don't even get a budget on the floor of the united states senate to have an opportunity to debate and vote upon.
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and, in fact, when you think about the fact that we spend spend $3.7 trillion annually of the american people's tax money, you would think that you would want to have some idea, some blueprint, some path of how you're going to spend that. and yet we haven't had that here, so we haven't had an opportunity to debate that budget, but this does get at the heart of a very big philosophical difference. our friends on the other side of the aisle have a view of government that is much more expansive, which is why, i think, they can explain passing the multitrillion dollar health care bill a year ago and the trillion dollar stimulus bill and the new class act which is going to be another entitlement program that will end up running huge deficits into the future, and i don't think that's what the american people have as a vision for this country. i think that we need to get back to a role, a size for our government that's consistent with the historical average, the historical norm. it might surprise some of my
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colleagues to know that if you go back to the formative stages of our nation's history, in the year 1800, we only spent 2% of our g.d.p. on our government, 2%. this year we're going to spend over 24%. now, arguably it's gotten a lot more -- life has gotten a lot more complicated, there are a lot more things going on in this country, and certainly there is a responsibility the government has, but we -- we have really gotten away from the concept that i think the foundation of this great country, and that was a belief in a limited role for the federal government, not this expansive sort of western european social democracy type approach which the senator from nebraska alluded to. and so i'm -- i certainly think that the people in my state of south dakota, and i would argue in wyoming, my colleague, and nebraska, as i said before, have a history and a tradition and a heritage of living within their means. also i think have an understanding of what government should and shouldn't do.
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and i certainly believe that the people that i represent want us to get back to that. and it starts here, it starts now, it starts by getting spending under control, by putting federal spending on a downward trajectory instead of this consistent incline that we have seen. in the last two years, we have seen nonnational security discretionary spending increase by over 24%, and if you add the stimulus spending in there, it was 84%. that's how much spending has increased in just the last two years of this administration. well, that's got to stop. i think the american people send a loud, clear message in november of last year and it's incumbent upon us to have listened to that message and to do everything that we can to get this train turned around. i think we're going to have a big fight or over that because the other side believes that the way that you fix this debt crisis is to increase revenues, to raise taxes which would be a huge mistake particularly now in the middle of an economic downturn. it starts by getting spending under control, it starts by keeping tax rates and
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regulations low on our job creators on in this country and creating conditions that are favorable to economic growth and job creation as opposed to what we're seeing now, higher taxes, more mandates, all the things that make it more difficult for our job creators to do what they do the best and that is to get people in this country back to work. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent to introduce into the record the charles krauthammer column called "the great divide." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: how much time do i have remaining? the presiding officer: time has expired. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent to speak for an additional four minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: i wanted to do that because i wanted to introduce into the record, i'll read a couple of photographs from a letter that appeared in the casper "star tribune" by ericism mitchell. eric goes on to say, i think the title is called "smarter
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than you think." i think they think i'm not so smart because i'm too young to know what they're doing like raising the national debt. eric goes on, don't they know i owe the country about $45,000? i'm only 10 years old. i could buy a lot with $45,000. i could almost buy a home, i could buy a boat and get fish. he's from crowheart, wyoming. a small ciewpt community. i would buy guns and ammunition. i could buy books to learn more. he says $45,000 could buy a lot of stuff. he said that's more than my dad earns. but it wouldn't buy everything. this is a 10-year-old. he said government shouldn't try to buy everything. he said it's my job and the people's job to buy the things we need. he said i don't want the government to think for me. he said they don't know that i'm a little brother who doesn't like it, he said, when my big brothers tell me what to do
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because they aren't always responsible for their own things. he goes on, he said i don't tell my brothers what to do with their money, i'm smarter than they think i am. they should follow the rules. here you have a youngster in wyoming who knows the values, who is raised in a family where they live within their means,in in a state where we balance our budget every year and i think the lesson that eric has for the people of wyoming and the people of this country is one that we should listen to. should live within our means, not spend more than we have, not continue to borrow, and the threat to our nation, our greatest threat to our national security continues to be the debt. and it's incumbent upon this institution to deal with that. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent i be recognized for whatever time i shall consume as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: there is a simple reason we are talking about the debt limit increase and it's the fact this president has spent more money than i ever believed would be possible. so far he spent over
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$10 trillion in three years and next year if he has his way will spend another $3.5 trillion. i remember so well in the clinton administration, i think it was 1995, i was outraged, i came down this to this podium and said can you believe a president has a budget of $1.5 trillion, and this president has spent $10 trillion in this short time. if he hadn't spent all this money we wouldn't be talking about a debt limit increase right now. i hate to sound so partisan about it but it's truly a partisan issue. the democrats have supported his spending and the republicans have not. the boehner plan that we're going to vote on, they're going to vote in the house today and i think we might have an opportunity to vote on here later on tonight, may not be perfect. none of the stuff around here is perfect but it is good and has dramatically improved over the last 12 hours. it allows the debt limit increase but only after we significantly cut spending. never before have we tied in the
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history of this country a debt limit increase to spending cuts. but it's something we have to do now and that we are so far into this mess. the first step of this plan cuts spending by over $900 billion in exchange for a $900 billion increase in debt limit. that will last the president to around february and i think it's a fair deal. i'd like to cut the spending more but we can only do so much when we only control the house. the second step of this plan is also good. it establishes a mechanism to quickly consider $1.8 trillion in additional spending cuts between now and the end of the year. it also requires congress to pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution and accepted it to the states for ratification. this is something that just happened in the last 12 hours. people were talking about well, we really want to do something, a balanced budget amendment is the only way it's going to be good for now and for the future.
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and we've been talking about this for many, many years. i remember so well way back in -- oh, the 1970's i was in the state senate in oklahoma when carl curtis, a wonderful gentleman from nebraska, he was a senator, had been a senator for quite some time, he was the perennial author of the balanced budget amendment but he never could get it through but he had an idea. he came to me in the state of oklahoma and he said you know, inhofe, we have been trying to get this balanced budget amendment for a long time and the excuse they use is you're never going to get the required number of states to ratify it. he said i've come up with an idea. we will get 3/4 of the states to preratify a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. to the constitution. that's kind of an ingenious thing. why don't you be the first state? so i did and we passed by resolution in my state of oklahoma in 1975 i believe it was a ratification of a balanced budget amendment to the constitution that didn't exist. that's kind of neat.
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and we actually got up to almost three-fourths of the states and some of the other forces knocked it down. that's how long we've been doing this. there hasn't been one year that we talked about a balanced budget amendment that -- that -- that hasn't come up for discussion. well, this is probably the first time that it is a possibility. because we've never been in this spending situation that we're in right now. as i said, $10 trillion in just three years. so right now, we -- we added that just in the last 12 hours and if that legislation passes, the president will get an additional debt limit increase so we're tying it to behavioral patterns and spending and austerity and it's a smart way too do it. this -- this proposal would keep the debt limit and spending debate at the forefront of the national conversation. we must have this conversation. if we don't, we'll be worrying about things a lot worse than an increase in the debt limit. the president wants nothing to do with this.
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he just wants to -- a blank check to increase the debt so he can continue to raise deficits. why do i think this? well, if we undid all of his policies today, the policies that so rapidly increased the spending and are killing our economy, then we wouldn't need a debt limit increase. the president's spending addiction is it only -- now, this is unilateral. this is the president of the united states. this was his budget, so it's not a group of people, it's him. and a lot of people are looking -- in washington say, don't any of them really care? well, there's one guy that doesn't and that's the president of the united states. his -- his action are what we're talking about today and we'll look at the failed policies. first, we have obamacare. there it is. obamacare. now, we're talking about a -- right now trying to get something like $800 billion in all these negotiations so that we can increase the debt limit. in one fell swoop, $1.5 trillion. his plan costs, over the current
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decade, once it's fully implemented, the ten-year cost nearly doubles to $2.5 trillion. this law dramatically expands the government's influence and involvement in the health care sector and together with medicare and medicaid, it will result in the financial ruin of this great county. so that' -- of this great count. so that's $1.5 trillion. second, we have the failed stimulus plan. we all know that it didn't meet any of obama's expectations. of course, it clearly met all of mine. i didn't expect much. it didn't help the economy a bit. it only expanded the size of government. i can remember when we, down here, even though we were opposed to it, i'm among the most conservative members. senator boxer's a very proud liberal and she and i together tried to have an amendment to take some of the money, the $800 billion, and put it -- a large amount into infrastructure. right now we have to have roads and highways and bridges. that's what we're supposed to be doing up here. and, of course, they didn't do it. only 3% of the $800 billion went for that type of infrastructure.
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over a trillion of this amount, once you add the costs -- that's thousand would get up to a trillion, the cost of interest that we have to pay for the practice spending. so that's a total now of $2.5 trillion. so you've got your stimulus, a trillion, your o obamacare, $1.5 trillion. then there's the president's relentless pursuit of regulation folegislation for regulation. whatever the president hasn't been able to legislative accomplish, is he attempting to do it through regulation, most of it through the environmental protection agency. now, cap and trade is a good example. you know, we debated that since -- well, since the kyoto treaty was up and clearly the votes aren't there. right now in this chamber, you wouldn't get 25 votes for a cap and trade. and yet everyone's talking about how the debt's important, we're going to have a cap and trade. so now he's trying to do it with -- through regulations. now, that alone would cost the american people $300 trillion to
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$400 trillion a year. not just one shot. that's a year. he has his boiler mack legislation. that's maximum attainable emissions -- maximum obtainable controlled technology. in other words, what can we do. what do we have the technology to do to stop the emissions? well, we don't have it. but he as that and, of course, that is billions of dollars a year. ozone regulations, i understand just -- he was going to announce this week a tightening of the ozone regulations that would put 608 of our counties in america out of attainment. i'm from the state of oklahoma, they put 15 of our counties out of attainment. that means in those counties, they can't recruit industries, they can't hire people. manufacture them would have to go out of business because of these ozone regulations. and it's not even in my opinion legal the way that he's doing it because he's supposed to be addressing it every five years.
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and when he did it -- and when it was done in 2008, it was done on new technology -- that's a requirement -- and yet today he's trying to do it using the same old 2008 technology. again, extremely expensive. it's cast a tremendous cloud over the uncertainty of the business sector and that's a key reason why it has announced today that the economy's only growing at a rate of 1.3% a year. that's terrible, especially when you consider the recession that we're in. generally, as a general rule, economies recover rapidly when coming off of a financial recession. it's not unusual for countries to grow at 4% and 5% and 6% for the years following a recession. but we can't even get around 2%. this has a huge negative effect on the economy and on the government. the president's regulatory agenda is the reason for our unemployment rate above 9% and it's the reason that our economy is growing so slowly. and because of this, our tax receipts are way off their historic levels. now, if we can get the economy
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to grow faster to sustain -- at a sustained period of time, the effect on tax revenues is really unbelievable. i used to say -- and it's pretty well accepted -- that for a 1% increase in the economy, it -- it equals about $50 billion in new revenue. and that's the way to grow revenue. certainly president kennedy knew it. president reagan knew it. and so the best way to increase revenue is to -- is to get the economy moving again. and, of course, increase the -- the economy. if the economy grows at a rate of 1% faster than presently forecast for the next decade, then federal tax revenues would grow by nearly $3 trillion. and i conservatively estimate that the cost of federal revenues of the president's regulatory agenda has been a trillion dollars. so we have there, through his regulatory behavior, another trillion dollars. that brings our total to $3.5 trillion.
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then there's an increase in nonsecurity discretionary spending which added up to $500 billion in spending. so we have now the cost of $500 billion and there's expanded and increased spending on unemployment benefits, which are also a consequence of his regulatory policies that have killed the economy and its recovery. and the cost of that is another $500 billion. so together, all these failed policies add up to $4.5 trillion contribution to the federal deficits. since inauguration day, the dealt hadebthas increased by $3. it's on pace to increase by more than $5 trillion by the end of the president's first term f. w- term. if we undid all of these failed policies, we wouldn't find ourselves in the situation we find ourselves in today. we wouldn't be here today debating this because it wouldn't be necessary. it is because of the president that we are even talking about raising the debt ceiling today.
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if we could undo the president's policies, we wouldn't need to raise the debt ceiling at all. and where's the president? he's been totally absent from this entire debt conversation. today he's meeting with a terrorist from cote d'ivoire and he's probably going to go and play golf in the afternoon. i don't know. but he doesn't -- he's not around here. he's not participating in this. he doesn't seem to care about debating the debt ceiling. he just wants to raise the deficits. if he did care, he'd see the need for the boehner plan, endorse it and sign it into law but i guess that's too much to ask. well, we're going to have a chance to do this tonight. we're going to have a vote over in the house on the boehner plan i think around 6:00. then it's going to come over here. we'll have an opportunity to do that. and if the democrats will support, just a handful of them, we would be able to get that passed. so we'll wait until tonight and see -- see what happens.
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and, mr. president, since i mentioned the terrorists who's visiting with the president right now, let me kind of elaborate a little bit because it's something that people are -- are really kind of looking the other way right now. they don't know what is going on in africa and i have been on this floor nine different times talking about the atrocities that have been committed in this little country called cote d'ivoire. they had a president there by the name of ba laurent gbagbo. he and his wife are great people, friends of this country. and an election took place that i stood here and showed how it is fraudulent, and a guy -- when it was, his name is alassane ouattara. and right now, as we speak, as this very moment, president obama is meeting with the rebel leader and the potential war criminal alassane ouattara in our nation's oval office. this is an unwise and grossly misguided decision on behalf of president obama. it is, in fact, an outrage that our president would welcome with
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open arms a man who's responsible for at least 3,000 people and the displacement of a half million refugees in the african county of cote d'ivoire. ouattara is an i will legitimate usurper -- illegitimate usurper who has scandalized cote d'ivoire's democratic system and u.s.a.d democratic incumbent gbagbo. beginning last year, ouattara fraudulently won the presidential election. and after president gbagbo revealed the fraud, he led a rebel army that violently overthrew the gbagbo government with the support of the french military, which wrongly intervened in this former french colony. this is a picture, mr. preside mr. president. this is a -- one of ouattara's death quads going through, murdering, maiming, raping. it's happening right now as we speak. and who is in the president's office? alassane ouattara. as a result, amnesty international reported on july 28 that half a million evorians
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are displaced in post-election violence and are prevented from returning home because of a climate of fear that continue to rein in this country. amnesty international specifically singles out ouattara's security forces and his state-sponsored military militia, composed of dozens of dozos, they're called, who continue to target pro--gbagbo ethnic groups. dozos traditional hunters are mercenary groups that both amnesty international and the international committee of the red cross for carrying out the massacres in april of at least 220 people in the western town of duekoue. now here they are, folks, mr. president. see the charred bodies down here. all murdered by ouattara, who's in the president's office right now as we speak. here's the executions going o. there's the burning and beating the back of one of the opponents, one of the -- the political opposition. and that's what's happening
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today. amnesty international alleges that these forces under ouattara's command are continuing to engage in -- i'm quoting now -- "documented crimes under international law and human rights violations and abuses, including extra judicial executions and other unlawful killings, rape and other sexual violence, torture, other ill-treated and arbitrary" -- i'm reading now. this is from amnesty international. "and arbitrary arrests and detention as well as the consequences of a high levels of displacement, pervasive insecurity and international destruction -- and intentional destruction of homes and other buildings not justified by military necessity." and there -- what they're talking about is this. you can see this person being tortured to death. this actually was someone from the cabinet. wasn't this one from his cabinet? yeah, he was from the gbagbo cabinet and he's tried to make the statement, ouattara has
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tried to say that he's hiring some of the gbagbo's of the previous administration. that's when he's right in the middle of killing. he died right after this. this right here, they're executing someone. this is her to person that wa was -- they found was a gbagbo supporter. this is happening today as we speak. ouattara's bloodletting seems unabated and he does not seem to be interested in restraining his forces from eliminating perceived pro-gbagbo supporters. he does not deserve an invitation to our white house or an audience with the president in the oval office. instead, by participating in our nation's budget crisis, president obama is meeting with this killer and human rights abuser even today while alassane ouattara is in the president's office. his death squads are roaming the streets of abidijan. it's an outrage and maybe now we understand where some of the priorities are. with that, i'll yield the floor.
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a senator: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the chair recognizes the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. too many ohioans are struggling --
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the presiding officer: the -- mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. too many ohioans are, as they are all over the nation, struggling in the economy. they're watching washington with disgust, as some politicians are risking economic catastrophe. the house of representatives continues to waste time as our nation stands just four days away from a catastrophic default. instead of working with us on a bipartisan basis in the senate on a compromise measure to prevent a crisis, house republicans are cutting closed-door deals to find votessen on a deal that has no chance of becoming law. only a bipartisan bill coming out of senate negotiated with republican leader mcconnell and democratic leader reid provides hope for a way out of this impasse. as the majority leader moves forward, i ask my republican colleagues across the aisle here to proceed with its work, not
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delay with the resolution with filibusters and procedural tricks. in the spirit of continuing compromise, majority leader reid has come forth with a plan to reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion. it's truly a compromise because it meets the republicans' main criteria. it incorporates some of senator mcconnell's language. it contains spending cuts to roughly match the debt ceiling increase through 2012. the spending cuts in the reid plan are ones that republicans had previously agreed to and in many cases advanced. and it contains no revenue increases, all criteria and demands from overwhelming numbers of senate republicans. majority leader reid's plan is not perfect. it's not the balanced approach that i hoped it would be. but, most importantly, right now it prevents a default. it reduces the deficit, a critical impair of it for our children and our grandchildren. it protects medicare, it protects social security, it
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protects medicaid. my office is being swamped with calls and e-mails from ohioans who cannot believe we are so close to default. i can't either. let me read a couple of letters from ohio voters, both of them self-identified as republicans, when they write to meevment one say, "i am a 40-plus republican in northern ohio along the lake, who has tried to work -- to take -- to eliminate the tax money we use being -- that is now paid to oil and gas companies as tax subsidies. i don't like my tax money being given to these companies with senators' blessing. i would like to ask both of you" -- he sends this paintsly to my colleague, senator portman -- "to support a balanced approach being proposed by the president and put debt and deficit to bed until an election can be held an the american people can
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determine who should be in congress. we should have listened to ronald reagan when he said that this should not have been undertaken. the debt" -- meaning the debt limit issue. -- the deficit is on past -- the debt limit is on pass bills and should not be used as a political volleyball and why you upset our financial institutions." another letter writer wrote, "i did not vote for our current president, but i have to side with him in the debt ceiling issues. i'm exhausted by the political bickering that goes on in washington. quit the child-like fighting and get this thing done. the american people are tired of it all." a default would risk what amounts to a permanent tax hike on all americans. interest rates could rise for anyone applying for a home mortgage, a car loan, a college loan, credit costs for all borrowers would climb, governments at all levels, credit cardholders, several states have already been placed
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on a credit watch. every state would be hurt by federal default, which is why governors of all states are calling for a deal. there could be money market funds with the savings of middle-class families. public employees who have spent their lives working ohio's courts and schools and ohio's many other public servants in local and state government, that's why the director of operers, sent a letter with niefn her colleagues pleading -- quote -- "america is now a debtor nation. it must show the world that the nation's word is its bond. it's critical that the debt ceiling be raised to avoid a default." the public employees retirement system represents republicans and democrats alike. as a member of senate banking committee, i heard chairman ben bernanke, a republican
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appointee, speak to the banking committee in march. he said, default would be an extremely dangerous and very likely recovery-ending event. just today several mayors of ohio's large and medium-sized cities, the cities, for example, of hillsboro in south euclid and chillicothe and l.a.n. ceft -- and lancaster and reynoldsburg and dayton and steubenville and new york and fairfield, republicans and democrats alike, medium, small, and large cities alike wrote that "as mayors we rely on the partnership of the federal government to help us create jobs and grow our communities. uncertainty" -- think about this. "uncertainty surrounding the federal budget puts key programs like the community development block grants in jeopardy. job-creating infrastructure projects, putting people to work, job-creating infrastructure projects would come to a halt without the full support of our federal partners.
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inaction on the debt ceiling threatens programs like social security that are -- that our citizens rely on to survive. close quote. mr. president, i have heard the presiding officer in a meeting today, in fact, talk passionately about the uncertainty that this would inject into our economy, to follow the house lead and do this again in six months. the irresponsibility of that proposal, where as difficult as this has been for all people on all sides and the contentiousness and anger -- doesn't matter that we're angry or contentious -- what does matter is the message it sends to main street, connecticut, main street, toledo. when businesses are thinking about expansion, they're thinking about taking a loan out, they think about borrowing money, they're not going to do it when we're inned midst of a financial crisis like we're in now. and no one -- if we were going
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to do this again in six months, you can bet we'd have the same diendz of divisions, the same kind of arguments and businesses as the assistant majority leader told a story today about a chicago business person who is terrified of this kind of -- at what would happen if we didn't raise the debt ceiling, if we went into default and what might happen six months from now if we went through this again. so the responsible position is this body bipartisanly works on the mcconnell-reid plan, we pass this. it goes through the house of representatives. we focus on job creation, we focus on deficit reduction. but we move forward together in a way that we have not for too long. mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? mr. brown: of course. mr. durbin: there have been members of the senate and the house who have gone before the cameras and come on the floor in each of those bodies and argued defaulting on the national debt is not a big deal. though we've never done that one time in our history -- we had
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one technical default for a few days -- but never really defaulted on our debt one time in our history. i ask the senator from ohio, the response he's getting back from ohio and i'm getting from illinois from people who are genuinely concerned about a default on the national debt, i wonder if he has been hearing from social security recipients who are asking whether or not they'll be receiving their checks after august 2 if we default on our debt? i wonder if he's getting calls from disabled veterans whom we've promised to stand by the rest of their lives, who receive monthly checks for their medical care and other things. has he heard from small business leaders in ohio as i have from illinois, who are suggesting that an increase in interest rates at this moment in time is exactly the wrong thing twhe comes to job -- when it comes to job creation. i'd like to ask the senator from ohio, when one of our colleagues from pennsylvania comes to the floor and says defaulting on the national debt can be easily
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managed and no one will notice, i'd like to ask the senator from ohio, is that his impression? mr. brown: that's sure not my impression. i appreciate the assistant leader from illinois' comments. i listened to the words read that ronald reagan said, the debt limit ras raised 18 times in the reagan administration. each time there were people who didn't like doing it. nobody likes to vote for that. but there was never this let's go up to the edge and take a chance. and president reagan always preached, as presidents have since in both parties, that this is not a risk we can take. and i know this. i hear from social security beneficiaries. i hear from veterans. i hear from small business people. i hear from contractors around wright-paterson air force that they don't think we should take this risk. that they're, some use the words terrified getting this close to default. most can't really believe we're this close. i can't either. i've talked to, the senator from iltphoeu and i talked -- the
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senator from illinois and i talked about this many times in the last few months. we figured there would not be this line in the sand in this belief it doesn't matter if we default and we would get to a solution here and we haven't been able to. no responsible people in elected office that i can think of in the last 30 or 40 years have wanted to go this close to default and play chicken and just think well, maybe it won't hurt as much. we know what happens with interest rates. we know what might happen with social security checks and veterans benefits and prison guard pay and airport safety and food inspectors. all of those things that matter. and i don't know any responsible leader in this body or the other body would want to take that risk. mr. durbin: i'd like to ask through the chair if the senator from ohio would yield for this question, he may recall the time not that long ago when we closed down the government of the united states for a period of time, and there were some radio talk show hosts who argued america won't notice, just as
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they're arguing now that america won't notice if we default on our national debt. i know the senator from ohio can recall that and the fact that america did notice and those who engineered that crisis paid a heavy political price. what i'm really getting to at this point, though, is to ask the senator from ohio, monday night when the speaker of the house, john boehner, went on national television with the president of the united states and announced that he had a bipartisan plan, he called it, that he could pass in the house of representatives, many of us had the impression that that was going to be done on tuesday. well, it wasn't done on tuesday or wednesday or thursday. it's only today that they're voting on it some five or six days later. and i'd thraoeubg ask the senator from ohio -- i'd like to ask the senator from ohio, losing that four or five day period of time when we could have been moving forward toward a compromise, the impact that has as we face this looming deadline of a default on august
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2. mr. brown: this is clearly more dangerous for our economy and our country from wall street to main street than what happened when they closed the government down 15 years ago or threatened to a few months ago. that's troubling and that was damaging to our country. we don't know what exactly would happen. we're almost sure interest rates go up. we're almost sure that many people who are -- that benefit from government services directly would see those benefits go away, whether it's the social security check or whether it's food safety or airline, running airports safely. all of those things would be at risk. i've heard a lot of, sort of brouhaha or a lot of strong words out of the house and a lot of promises. there seem to be too many people in that chamber that don't really see the seriousness of this, don't see that this really does put our economy in jeopardy. you know, it's not just our economy.
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that's the most parpb part of this -- important part of this. but it's also our reputation around the world. it's the strength on our dollar, the blot on our reputation. i haven't been to europe in a long time, but i hear reports from people around the world that they're saying what's going on in the united states of america that you can't even agree on raising the debt ceiling so you can really focus on things like jobs? i had a meeting just last week, senator rockefeller and i, earlier this week, and there were eight or nine senators that joined us to talk about focusing on a jobs agenda, what we need to do to restore american manufacturing. and in a state like yours, illinois and connecticut, the other the senator from connecticut was in our meeting and talked about bridgeport and new haven and all the, all that manufacturing has done in this country, we're still a major manufacturing country. this is going to hurt manufacturers. it's going to mean they can't borrow to meet payroll or borrow to expand or borrow to create more jobs.
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why would we risk any of this instead of getting this done with, focusing on job growth, focusing on getting our budget in order? we know how to do this. in the 1990's, the presiding officer and the assistant majority leader were very much part of this in the 1990's, we got to, one, a balanced budget. and, second, we got to 21 million private-sector job net increase because we passed a responsible budget. it had some tax increases for upper-income people. it also had some tax breaks in it for middle-income people. it also had major cuts and major investments. and we did all of that because we wrote a thoughtful budget. didn't get a lot of help from the other side, but put that aside. we did it right. we got to a budget surplus and we created 21 million jobs. we know how to do this, but we didn't see anybody playing these kind of games. maybe we just let the debt ceiling go and go into default. we just cannot take this chance. i thank the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from illinois is recognized. do i want mr. president, i want to thank my colleague from ohio for talking about this issue because it's on the minds of everyone here on capitol hill and across the nation. we're getting a lot of e-mails and phone calls and letters, and it's understandable, because this is the first time in our nation's history that we face default on our 0 national debt. i received a letter from amy in germantown, illinois. that's down state. we have a lot of german families in our state. we have a town named germantown. and amy contacted me and said please do your utmost to compromise on a budget solution before the deadline expires. our family has already weathered multiple economic downturns due to the dot-com bubble burst, 9/11 and the subprime mortgage crisis. we are responsible with our income, saving for our children's education and our retirement. however, we're extremely nervous about our savings and investments once again. if the united states of america defaults on its loan
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obligations, it's likely we'll see a significant reduction in the value of our 401(k) and 403-b investments as well as the investments we made for our children and grandchildren's education. i cannot stand by another day and listen to all the elected officials in washington talk about their convictions. please remember your constituents and their situations. another letter from scott in bloomington, illinois. dear senator, i thought i'd offer a real-life personal example of what you're doing to common americans by dragging out to the last minute the resolution of the federal debt limit. i have an account that includes a variety of investments not the least of which are equity mutual funds. fail thraour to provide leadership in congress along with the president and house leaders will probably cost me about $5,000 this year. i'll never see this money again. the recent fall in the equity markets is a direct result of the nervousness you are creating
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by failing to resolve the federal debt limit issue. playing the usual political games. i respectfully request that you share this message with all of your colleagues as a reality check. stop your games played for your own personal advantage and start thinking about the people you're supposed to be serving. a letter from david in casey, illinois. i'm retired and don't look forward to having my social security or veterans benefits cut. why is it the rich get by with no additional taxes and we are taxed and our benefits are in jeopardy? so why don't you elected officials wake up, start living like the rest of the country, put politics aside and do what's right for america. from the lincoln courier newspaper, from what i'm hearing, interest rates would go up said jim mishinsky, revenue manager on the commission on government accounting. sales tax revenues are going to
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suffer from local governments. that could start a ripple effect the newspaper went on to write. in the consumer pulls back korplgss will be more -- corporations will be more hesitant to add to their payroll. they may cut or at the very least not hire. at this stage of the recovery, we would hope hiring would be further along. mr. president, what troubles me the most is this is a manufactured political crisis. this is a self-inflicted political wound. 89 times since 1939 we have routinely, except for one little glitch, routinely extended the debt ceiling. we've done it under republican presidents 55 times and democratic presidents 34 times. it's bipartisan. all the president's asking for is the authority to borrow the money to pay for the things that congress has spent. members of congress who come to the floor here and say i will never pledge, i will never vote to extend the debt ceiling are
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the same members of congress who just weeks ago said to the president, stay in afghanistan, stay the course, spend the money. we've got to do it. $10 billion a month in afghanistan. for every dollar we spend, we have to borrow 40 cents. so for president obama to keep the promise made by these same members of congress, he has to borrow funds to do it. now that he's asked for authority to borrow it, they're saying, oh, no, we want nothing to do with borrowing the money. and that's why we're here today. hraoet me say a word -- let me say a word if i can, mr. president, about the other issue being debated, and that's the deficit. i know you feel seriously about it as i do. the deficit in this country has to be addressed. we are leaving a debt to our children that is unimaginable, and we have to change it. i've been working for a year and a half with the deficit commission the president created and with a group called gang of six. and we have come up with a bipartisan approach to deal with this. it is sensible, it spreads the
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pain -- and there will be pain -- to everyone across america and puts everything on the table. everything. we don't spare anyone except the poorest and most vulnerable in our nation. we basically said to people, we've got to raise revenue and we've got to start by increasing the tax burden of those in the highest income categories. i think it stands to reason f. we're asking for sacrifice from working families who are paying for college student loans, why wouldn't we ask the wealthiest people in america to pay a little more in their taxes? secondly, we put all of the federal spending on the table and we make dramatic cuts in federal spending. not just on that side of the ledger that deals with non-defense, but also in the defense department. there are some members of congress who argue you cannot cut a penny from the department of defense. mr. president, when i was on the deficit commission, we had experts who came in from the pentagon, and we learned that the pentagon, department of
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defense, is the largest federal employer in america. but then senator conrad of north dakota asked an important question. he said beyond those federal employees in the department of defense, how many contractors, how many contract employees work for the department of defense and the expert said i have no idea. he said give me a range. he said between one million and nine million. that's quite a range. it's evidence, i think, that we ought to look at every single contract in the department of defense. and, believe phaoerbgs there are some of them that -- me, there are some of them that shouldn't be there or we're paying too much money and not getting the security we expect for our nation. so we need to look at both sides of the ledger, the defense side and the non-defense side. save the money, keep our troops safe, keep america safe, but don't waste money on things that don't make us safe. finally, the entitlement programs. this is one many people -- where many people in america do get nervous. i believe in social security,
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medicare and medicaid. i believe we have an obligation to seniors who paid in their entire working lives into this program expecting them to protect them when they reach the age of retirement. this year on january 1, 10,000 americans reached the age of 65, qualifying for social security and medicare. on january 2, another 10,000. january 3, again. and for 19 more years every day 10,000 more people qualify for social security and medicare. welcome to the baby boom. those who were born after world war ii are now reaching retirement age. with that, expect because they paid in for a lifetime to receive social security and medicare. now we need to look at those programs and ask what can we do to make them stronger longer. we may have some disagreement exactly about how that's done, but we both agree that if we don't touch medicare and leave it as is, in a matter of six, seven or eight years it will be insolvent, unable to pay its bills. that's unacceptable.
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we need to find ways to make medicare a strong, viable program that will pay the medical bills of seniors and disabled when they need them. social security the same. the good news in social security, it's solvent for 25 years. you can't say that about many programs, if any, in washington, but the good news is at the end of 25 years, benefits would have to be cut 22%. that's tough. a lot of people have no other source of income. what i have suggested and i hope people will listen to carefully, small changes we make today in social security will play out over 25 years to buy the solvency that we need in this program for decades to come, and every penny of savings and social security needs to be reinvested right back into social security so you don't take the savings from social security for general deficit reduction, not at all. take whatever savings are there, put them back in to the social security program. there are ways to do this. we could do it in a sensible
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fashion, and the only reason i can say that with some confidence is i have done it. when i first got elected to the house of representatives in 1983, they said welcome to washington, social security is broke, and we sat down and fixed it. we bought over 50 years of solvency at that time. we can do it again. we have got to think about this in thoughtful terms, preserve the basic benefits of these programs but give them a longer life so they will be there when they are needed in the future. our gang of six came up with a bipartisan agreement to deal with this. 36 senators of both parties have agreed to join us in this effort, and i hope that it becomes the basis for us addressing our deficit crisis and that we avert what clearly is a manufactured political crisis coming august 2 and that we extend this debt ceiling so we don't hurt our recovering economy. we cannot hurt the innocent businesses and families across america that count on us for leadership. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk
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will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to diswednesday with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to calendar 113, s. res. 175. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 113, s. res. 175, expressing the sense of the senate with regard to ongoing violations of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of georgia, and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? hearing none, without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. brown: mr. president, i know of no further debate. i ask the senate vote on the adoption of the resolution. the presiding officer: further
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debate. hearing none, all in favor signify by saying aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the measure is adopted. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements relating to the matter be placed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 114, s. res. 216. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 114, s. res. 216, encouraging women's political participation in saudi arabia. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding? hearing none. without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the committee-reported substitute amendment be agreed to, the resolution as amended be agreed to, the committee-reported amendment to the preamble be agreed to, the preamble as amended be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table with no
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intervening action or debate and any statements related to the resolution be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration en bloc of the following resolutions which were submitted earlier today -- s. res. 242, s. res. 243 and s. res. 244. the presiding officer: is there objection to the senate proceeding? hearing none, without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the resolutions be agreed to, the preambles be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table en bloc with no intervening action or debate and any statements related to the resolutions be printed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: hearing no objection, it is so ordered. mr. brown: and last, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that taylor egleston, an intern in senator paul's offices
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be graduated privileges of the floor for the remainder of this day. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the gentlewoman from north dakota is recognize heed. a senator: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: i rise today to urge my colleagues to come together and tracy this debt ceiling and find a way to reduce our deficit and our debt. we're at the 12th hour and it's vitally important to the american people that we move forward. and i believe there's opportunity to do that. i think it's important that we
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move forward in a way that makes sure that we address the root problem. and the problem is we have a deficit and a debt that is out of control. and so as we work together to reach agreement on this very important debt ceiling issue we need to be mindful that we've got to take a big step forward, a big step forward in reducing the deficit and the debt that our country faces. let's start by taking just a minute to look at the numbers. today, this country has in total revenues coming into the federal government about $2.2 trillion. but at the same time, we have expenses of $3.7 trillion, leaving a deficit, an annual deficit of more than $1.5 trillion. and our debt is now in the range of $14.5 trillion. it's hard to even imagine what
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$1 trillion is let alone $14.5 trillion. we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that we spend and our debt is growing $4 billion a day. $4 billion a day. unemployment right now is 9.2%, and the latest g.d.p. growth just came out for the second quarter of this year, it was an anemic 1.3%. so clearly we need to get our economy going, we need to get people back to work, we need to get this economy growing. we need to get people working. and at the same time we've got to control our spending. and it's time to act. now we really are faced with really two different pieces of legislation at this point, one is the boehner plan or the budget control act of 2011 that the house will be voting on very soon, i believe. and then also there's another plan, the reid plan here in the senate.
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as configured though they have some similarities, as configured now, they're different plans. they're different approaches. one gets us on the road to recovery. one very importantly gets us on the road to recovery. the other one doesn't. so let's take just a minute to talk about each of those respective plans and make sure we understand that. so as they're voted on in the house and as we face these important votes hopefully this evening or tomorrow, but very soon, that we understand the differences between these approaches so that we can find ways to come together on an approach that we can pass in this chamber but also in the house and an approach that truly moves our country forward. now, under the boehner proposal, savings of more than $900 billion, $917 billion in savings must be provided in order to raise the debt ceiling. and that allows the first increase in the debt ceiling in
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the amount of $900 billion. but those savings have to be identified first. savings that are as much -- in fact, more than the amount of the debt ceiling increase. then the second tronch to increase the debt ceiling beyond that $900 billion, an additional $1.8 trillion in savings has to be identified and provided. $1.8 trillion in savings. so that's $2.7 trillion in savings to get this country back on the road to financial health in order to raise the debt ceiling. and that's fundamentally important because that's the fundamental issue. it doesn't fully solve the problem, but it gets us on the right path, and we've got to get going on the right path. that second tronch of savings is found by a committee, a committee of six members of the senate, three democrats, three
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republicans, six members of the house, three republican, three democrat, a bipartisan committee. i think that committee offers us real opportunity. here's why: the committee has to come up with recommendations for real savings by november. it's bipartisan, and it's a straight up-or-down vote in the house or the senate to put those savings in place and those savings must be identified before we raise the debt ceiling further. so it's something that we have to do. and let's think about that committee for a minute, mr. president. that's a committee that could bring in the ideas of the gang of six. that's a committee that can bring in the simpson bowls commission concepts. that's a committee that can bring in tax reform. that's a committee that can bring in entitlement reform. and these are the things that we're going to need to address to get this economy going and get control of our spending. i know, mr. president, you've put together many pieces of
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legislation that have been bipartisan and very important for this country and i think that this committee truly offers us that opportunity. and i hope it's something that we in the senate can find a way to come together on, and that we can get our colleagues in the house to join us. in my -- in my view, i think we do need to engage in tax reform. i think the right kind of pro-growth tax reform, some of the concepts brought forth by the gang of six can truly help us to stimulate economic activity and i think the real way to get revenue for this country is through economic growth, not higher taxes, through economic growth. expand the pie. the rising tide that lifts all boats. so if we can engage in the tax reform in a way that speculates economic growth, you reduce that 2340eu789 rate of more than 9%, that's good for every american but it also is the way you really create revenue to
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help get us out of this deficit and debt at the same time that we control spending. i absolutely believe it can work and i think that we need to convince our members that we need to come together and make it happen. the boehner proposal also includes a beamed, and i know -- balanced budget amendment, and i know that's been an issue of great debate in this senate and i believe we need a balanced budget amendment. i've said it many times before, i come from the background of a governor, in my state we balance our budget every year. 49 states have either a constitutional or statutory requirement to balance their budget. i think we need that fiscal discipline in washington, d.c. i think we need it to make sure that we don't get ourselves into this situation in future years for ourselves or for these young people we see here today with us. now, when you compare that approach, when you compare the
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approach of the boehner plan, it is different than the reid plan. and it's important that we understand that. the reid plan does provide that we identify $900 billion in savings but it then provides once we've identified that $900 billion in savings we raise the debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion. so unlike the boehner proposal, where we're finding more savings, significantly more savings than we're increasing the debt ceiling, this is just the opposite. we're increasing the debt ceiling $2.7 trillion but only requiring $900 billion in savings. that doesn't get at the root problem. that continues the underlying problem of too much spending and too much debt. it, like the boehner proposal, the reid proposal does provide for a committee. that's important. that's good. but unlike the boehner proposal, it doesn't require
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that that committee bring back the savings and that we put those savings in place before the debt ceiling is increased. it doesn't have the teeth we need to make sure that we get this job done for the american people. and that's a problem. so they are different approaches and it doesn't include a balanced budget amendment. now, there has been talk that we must work together and find a way to bridge the gap and the differences, and i think that's true. we have got to find ways to come together, time is growing short, we need to get it done now. but i think it's the approach identified in the boehner plan that we need to take. we need to get our colleagues in this chamber to join with us to do it. it's the only piece of legislation that can pass the house, but more importantly, it's a big step forward. it's a big step in the right direction for our country.
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thank you, mr. president. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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recognizes the gentlewoman from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. grassley: mr. president, i would ask to speak for 20 thnutes.